Picking up the pace to recovery
HEART attack survivors who step up their exercise efforts may live longer than those who remain inactive, a Swedish study has suggested.
Compared with patients who were inactive for the first 10 to 12 months after their heart attack, patients who were active during that time were 71% less likely to die during the four-year study, researchers reported in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
People who were inactive at first but who increased their activity levels over time were 59% less likely to die, and even people who reduced their activity levels but still got at least a little exercise were 44% less likely to die.
Overall, the study involved
22 227 patients who were surveyed twice about their activity levels. After an average follow-up of about four years, 1 087 people died.
Physical activity has long been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death after events like a heart attack or stroke.
The current study, however, offers fresh evidence of the potential to improve survival odds by exercising after a heart attack, or by trying to keep up with some workouts even if a previous level of exercise is not possible.
“If you have not been active (before your heart attack), don’t worry, start now, it will improve your health and prognosis,” lead study author Orjan Ekblom, of the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences in Stockholm, said. “If you have been active… great, but keep it up.
“For individuals who cannot exercise it is important to underline that exercise is only a limited part of physical activity,” Ekblom advised.
Moving more around the home, or taking slow walks, can help, along with things like reducing stress and avoiding alcohol and tobacco. |